Ch 1: MALL Gains, Barriers, and Opportunities


Carrie Demmans Epp1 (, Daita Watanabe2 (, Stephen Swann3 (

  1. University of Pittsburgh, University of Alberta
  2. Shitennouji Junior and Senior High School
  3. Hibarigaoka Gakuen Junior and Senior High School


The use of mobile applications within Japanese high school English classrooms has been understudied. As a result, teachers have received little guidance in how to use these tools to support language learning. This led us to explore the use of an English vocabulary support tool in an advanced English class at a senior high school in Japan. This investigation employed a mixed-methods approach that is consistent with a design-based research methodology. The study showed the mobile application supported students’ vocabulary development. The investigation also revealed the barriers (e.g., low levels of learner autonomy) and instructional norms that limit the adoption of mobile tools in this little studied context. We discuss these barriers and propose strategies to help teachers overcome them. Among these strategies are small incremental increases in learner autonomy, the use of challenging activities that encourage collaboration, and repeated instruction in the mobile tool’s use.


MALL, smartphones, classroom integration, English language learners, mobile learning


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IAmLearning: Mobilizing and Supporting Educator Practice Copyright © 2017 by International Association for Mobile Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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